The National Marriage Project recently released a report called "Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America".
Many of us are aware that the average age of first marriage (27 for women and 29 for men) in the United States is at an all-time high.
But for Asian American men (but not women), it's much higher. According to this 2010 study, white American men marry at age 28 while white women marry at age 26. Asian American men marry two years later at age 30 while Asian American women marry at the same age as white women - 26. This gender gap is the widest of all ethnic groups. In fact, the only ethnic group that marries later is African Americans (And we all know black people don't get hitched because marriage is for white people).
But if Asians are the model minority and the most assimilated to white culture, Asian American marriage patterns should more closely resemble that of white Americans.
So how come Asian American men wait so long to get married?
Here are my suspicions:
1) We're more shy and passive: Our conservative upbringing and cultural background makes us risk averse and insecure. This may be especially true in high-tech areas where recent immigration patterns have attracted highly-educated book-smart Asian immigrants (engineers and programmers) who tend to be socially challenged and introverted.
2) We take longer to mature: We want our freedom. We want our video games. We want our card nights. Many of my friends were late bloomers. I don't mean physically. Or maybe I do. Just late bloomers all the way around. We need to get all partying and independence out of our system. Perhaps we have more to overcome in terms of dysfunctional upbringing and overcoming our natural shyness.
Also, we age well. I turn 38 this year and was carded for buying cough medicine. Maybe when you look young, you act young.
3) We're more career-oriented: This seem to go against #2 but perhaps for many Asian guys, we're focused on our careers. Graduate school consumes a tremendous amount of time and energy and makes dating difficult. We're more ambitious and we don't have time for dating or marriage to tie us down.
I'm writing these reasons and none of them feel very convincing to me. I don't think level of education is a contributing factor, since I believe among Asian Americans the education gap between men and women is minimal. Does someone have data on that?
Also, I wonder if the Asian mail order bride phenomenon skews the numbers for Asian American women. I can't imagine there are that many though and that they're so young that it brings down the average. But maybe I'm wrong.
There are also some less pleasant possibilities - like Asian men are more feminine and therefore less attractive and it takes us longer to find a mate. I'm having trouble coming up with reasons for late marriage that are positive.
What do you think the reasons are? Any positive ones?